Sunday, April 15, 2007


I've been attempting to get into Temple University's Ph.D. program for the last two years. In 2005, there were months filled with uncertainty as to whether I would be allowed to continue my education as I became a reserve officer, or would be forced into service earlier. I allowed myself to become distracted by my situation, and did not turn in the application I should have. It must be obvious- since I'm here in @fghanistan- that Reserve Human Resources Command did not grant me permission to commission and continue my education, so learning I hadn't made the Temple program didn't smart as much.

I applied again. I did my best to submit a sterling application, to ask for not only the needed, but extra letters of reference from instructors at my university, and to send a detailed, thoughtful and intelligent entrance essay. My first inkling that my application might again not be going well was when I was home in December for leave. The History Department secretary handed me my ASU transcript- that had been sent to Temple- and returned. I began worrying.

I attempted to contact Temple's history graduate secretary by voice and email without apparent success. A few days later, she returned my calls, only to tell me I had only received one letter of reference. I knew at least four had been sent. I frantically scrambled to get more letters before I left again for @fghanistan, but I had a bad feeling.

I didn't make it again. My plans have changed somewhat, since I will have a wife after I get back, and plan to stay in Augusta while she finishes her BS. But this is Temple's loss, and one day I'll be sure to send them a letter thanking them for not accepting me.


Tam said...


Yeah, someday they'll shake their heads and think "He could've been our alumnus."


AnthroAnge said...
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AnthroAnge said...

Yay for me--well I mean I'm disappointed for you about Temple, but I'm selfishly glad that you'll be around Augusta a little longer (looking on the bright side). Some people talk about having a plan B. In my family we learn to have plan E or F...which leaves me to wonder what the point of planning is sometimes! SAS went to the zoo yesterday in Columbia for a gorilla tour. Wish you were with us!

J.R.Shirley said...

Yeah, I think I'll wait until I'm a bestselling author (since military history outsells every other kind), and then, maybe, dedicate a book to them!

Doctor, I'm still unsure whether I'll take some classes from ASU for this coming year. I may, but regardless, I'll be around. And I'm delighted that I'll have more time to spend with you and "Doctor Ruth". The truth is, I had a few fallback schools, but they allowed later applications than Temple- and by the time I got back from Augusta in December, I realized I'd be around GA for another year, anyway.


Scorpio said...

KU wouldn't take my kid as an undergrad because he took one course via the U of MD when he was in the military. This made him a "transfer student" in their book, and even though he got an A, they rejected him.


Owen said...

Augusta? dang, that's close!

When you get back, we'll have to arrange a playdate at a range somewhere.